COVID-19: UK Sets Date For Full Sports Stadium Reopening
3 weeks ago Dammylink 0
Sports venues in England are set to return to full capacity from July 19 after the Government announced plans to ease the remaining restrictions on social distancing.
Crowds have either been kept out entirely or allowed in severely restricted numbers since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK in March last year.
Test events with higher attendances have been held as part of a Government programme since April.
However, the Government is confident that the success of the vaccine rollout has helped to break the link between rates of infections and rates of hospitalisation and death due to Covid-19.
A final decision on whether to lift the remaining restrictions in England on July 19 will be taken next Monday, but the intention is for stadiums to operate at full capacity from that date.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at Monday afternoon’s press conference: “We’ll move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus.
“From step four we will remove all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors. We will allow all businesses to reopen, including nightclubs, we will lift the limit on named visitors to care homes and the numbers of people attending concerts, theatre, and sports events.”
The decision to allow sports venues to reopen without any restrictions ends a period where spectators have been either totally barred or restricted to small numbers.
A first attempt at reopening with venues at up to one-third of normal capacity on October 1 last year was scrapped amid rising cases, hospitalisations and deaths, with the country entering a second national lockdown just over a month afterwards.
Fans did return in very small numbers when the Government instituted the regionalised tier system at the start of December, but again a spike in cases and deaths led to that being abandoned by the end of that month.
The Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) got underway in April and is now into its third phase, and has been looking at ways to get spectators back into venues in financially viable numbers.
The findings from the first phase of the ERP were published on June 25.
It concluded that there were no substantial outbreaks linked to the nine sporting and cultural events featured in phase one, and found only 28 positive cases linked to the more than 58,000 people who took part in the test events.